Monday, August 31, 2009


The Spritzer Sisters surely must have been wired with the same code.....Our work is often so similar despite not even telling each other what we are doing....or even mentioning our latest designs. Really, it's quite astonishing....

Pierre the Chicken is one of several quilts SSF has made for the American Family University of Wisconsin - Madison Children's Hospital. How perfect is that to lighten up the mood at such a scary place for a child!?!?

Funky Rooster is a piece I created as a workshop project for my Hawaii Quilting Tour.

This quilt was inspired from a drawing by SSF's granddaughter, it also hanging at the UW Children's Hospital. Of course I found the bead embellished button flowers soooo charming.

Fluttering By is a piece I created for the Pilgram/Row Challenge which benefits the MAQS museum in Paducah. Notice the background fabric I used is the same one SSF utilized in the inner border of her butterfly quilt.

And yes.....we finish each other's sentences too!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Carol Sloan is another member of our group, her focus is mixed media projects which are often incorporated with her whimsical drawings.

One of her sketches can be seen on this 'Art Diva' banner flag seen here. Carol just participated in an online exchange....the idea was to collect a number of the flags to be hung on a string to decorate one's sewing space.

Detail - the background utilizes 'rusted' fabrics...another speciality of Carol's.

This is one Carol received in the exchange, I LOVE the button that has been enhanced with text.....we assume that was done using a pressure transfer method.

Here we are in Judy's fabulous studio with the 'techique exchange' part of our gathering. Judy Simmons (on the left), Nancy Bruce, and Carol Sloan. We are learning Judy's tricks and tips to print images onto prepared fabric from our home computers.

She uses an amazing variety of fabrics: cottons, silks, gauze, sheers, satins....the list goes on. She soaks the material in Bubble Jet and dries it flat on plastic sheets. If necessary she'll press out the wrinkles. Next, the fabric is mounted onto card stock using a spray adhesive....did you notice our 'spray booth'? The fabric is cut to fit the 8 1/2" x 11" paper and all outside edges are covered with blue painters tape. Yes, this is a lot of work!

Because Judy uses her own 'image fabrics' in most of her work, she'll set time aside to make up many, many sheets using a variety of fabric styles....this way when she's working all she has to do is run the manipulated image (done in Photoshop Elements) through her printer.....a real time saver in those creative moments!

Here is my image.....

......And how it looks as it came out of the Epson C88 printer. Judy recommends using a color fast ink such as Dura Brite.....not all printers, or even all Epson printers utilize that ink.

Here's one of Judy's spectacular pieces.....she hand dyed the left background fabric, while the right side was a nearly solid black. The trees were added with a type of silk screening process. Judy 'burns' her screen on her Thermofax machine (Judy correct me if I have this equipment name wrong). Next, using both black and white inks.......she printed the tree images onto her background fabric.

Did I tell you these gals are soooo amazing, talented, and generous!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


The Fiber Junkies is a new group that I belong to. The talent of the 4 other members makes me grateful to call them friends. Friends who share!! The focus of this group is to share our special technical skills and of course to create inspiration.

I'm sure Nancy Bruce doesn't sleep.....she can't possibly master all her unique ideas in the hours we mortals are used to working in. She felts, rusts, dyes, over-dyes, embroiders, crochets, tats (I'm not even sure how that is spelled!) and beads, just to mention a few of her accomplishments. I'm convinced she'll dye anything that isn't moving.

Words aren't necessary for you to enjoy these visual wonders......

I'll comment here because you'd never guess how what these beautiful pins are created from....
The 'altered' frame began as a white cardboard slide. The film was removed and replaced with fascinating stamps. I fell in love with them.....

Felted scissors sheath.....note the little dyed lace flowers!

She's rusted and dyed these pieces of lace....which will find their way into something new....probably tomorrow!

A highly embellished crazy patch necklace pouch.

Nancy felted and shaped these water bottle cozies. Each is further embellished with little treasures. Often she'll use inexpensive plastic and costume jewelry pieces that she rusts.

This piece is in progress.......she laughed when I took a photo because I totally overlooked the flower head pins still in the work......all I saw was wonderful subtle colors and texture. I almost tripped over myself getting my camera in focus.


Friday, August 28, 2009


Thank you Jackie for suggesting the Spritzer Sister's share some of their quilts.......we are happy to do that!

This quilt was designed and made by SSF. It's our guild motto!!

The Spritzer Sisters love to issue a challenge to their guild. Naturally, because we always agree, our rules are immediately agreed upon and easily altered if necessary. In 2004, SSF seemed to have crisis after of which was flooding issues. So we decided to do "Crisis" quilts.......each had to have lettering, pieced borders, beads, and size limitations.

Pulled From Every Direction is my really says it all......I think every quilter feels this way......when all we really want to do is sew! It's hand appliqued, hand quilted and heavily embellished.

SSF hand appliqued and hand quilted hers too. 'Chrisy Crisis' standing on a rain cloud on a tight rope......which is raining (beads) into the houses. We were absolutely floored when we had the 'reveal' of our pieces at my weekend cabin during our annual retreat in 2005. We never shared our pieces during the process of we were struck dumb (but never quiet) at how similar they were.....down to the crazy hair do's.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Introducing.........ta da......guest blogger Spritzer Sister Francie Ginocchio.....or better known as SSF.

Here's SSF on a whale watching cruise in San Diego - Feb. 2009

SSF is a fabulous fiber artist.....truly.....she has conquered every area of quilting/design/and stitching skills. This piece features silk, stitching, beads, and porcupine quills.

Francie shares the following with you:

Greetings from Spritzer Sister Francie (SSF), now living in Rochester, MN (as of July 2009) whom you probably thought was a figment of SSM's imagination. Not true. Here I am.

Mary's Blog reminiscing about our teaching and class adventures prompted an overdue phone call to her yesterday....there was lots to catch up on! Since meetings have been few and far between, we now rely on email and occasional phone calls. Mary's been on the quilting/beading/felting/writing/teaching trail and we've both moved (I'm ahead in that department) but we're still on the same wavelength.

My archive of The World's Smallest Quilt Guild items is still in a box in our storage unit, but I have the camp song right in front of me, and thought it needed a couple new verses such as:

#1. Bead, Bead, Bead your Quilt

(Neither one of us feels our quilted work is complete until beads are added.)

#2. Felt, Felt, Felt the Wool

(We both started felting about the same time and didn't even know it! We have not compared stashes of wool roving as yet.)

Here's one more story (Stori). One night at Split Rock Arts Program in Duluth, Mary was "quietly" resting in her bedroom while I was soaking in the tub (exhausted from trying to behave in class all day), dinner out (with wine) and a late evening work session in the classroom. All of a sudden I shouted from the tub "Spritzer - where's the car?" - realizing that we'd left it parked at the class building and had inadvertently walked back to our rented mini-apartment. Yikes, double yikes! The Spritzer Sisters sprang into action, threw clothes on, tied their shoes (Ok, SSM didn't have to tie her clogs) and walked as fast as possible to the classroom to retrieve the car before it got towed - hysterically laughing all the way. I guess you had to be there.....

That wraps up my first blog commentary (Bloggentary).

Respectfully submitted,

Francie SSF Ginocchio

Note from SSM.......we suspect most of you may feel our travel down memory is something we could/should have kept to ourselves.....nah, Spritzers are all about trying to snap you out of your trances and into laughing out loud. We feel everyone should laugh hard enough for milk (or wine) to spray out of your nose each day. If the demand is there, the Spritzers will be happy to share some more of their adventures/journals. We've already agreed that we may have to 'redact' some of the text to protect the guilty....Spritzer Sister's see all and make comments about things that perhaps need to be kept we never know who will be reading it. Let us know if you want more......

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Please enjoy the last segment of the Spritzer Sister's Washington Island mini- journal. Click on each page to open them in a larger - row to row - left to right.

SSF has agreed to do a guest post on my watch for that coming soon. I know some of you have enjoyed our adventure......we are glad......because selfishly......the Spritzer Sisters have had a ball traveling down memory lane.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I hope you had a chance to get to know the Spritzer Sisters by reading my last post. Our two person quilt guild has proved to bring joy to both our lives.

SSF (Spritzer Sister Francie) and I truly have toooo much fun together......perhaps we even become a bit juvenile together. Nah.....not us!

I thought I'd share some of our silliness: We both taught at Siever's School of Fiber Arts, on Washington Island, WI. A fabulous place to take a workshop in a large variety of subjects. To spread out the timing of quilting classes, generally the quilt teachers didn't teach the same weeks. In June 1995, they made an exception and the Spritzer Sisters were each scheduled to teach a long weekend class at the same time.

The two of us were beside ourselves with anticipation. Since we both had quite a long drive, we decided to meet in Bailey's Harbor, WI, the day before where we spent the night. The following morning we took the ferry over to the island which gave us plenty of time to get settled in the cottage the teachers share. Additionally, we organized our classrooms which were in different buildings. SS (Spritzer Sisters) pride themselves on always being prepared!
As I mentioned in my previous posts, I came across a folder of mementos from the various SS's jaunts. In it was this small journal that SSF and SSM (Spritzer Sister Mary) made together to record our journey. I took it apart and scanned it.....I'm hoping this will be should be able to click on each page to enlarge them. Read the pages from left to right, row by row. I've posted the first of 4 sections.....(4 small journal pages to each posted page). There will be more to follow.

This may be 'you just had to be there' kind of things.....perhaps though you will get into the spirit of the Spritzer Sisters way of thinking.

Oh....the original journal was written on the two paper bath mats from our bathroom in the rather lower end (though it was clean) motel room where we stayed the first night. SSF & SSM considered using a pillow case but thought better of it. Ya, we admit....we used a hand towel as a bath mat the next morning.

Read on......

Monday, August 24, 2009


To read the escapades of the Spritzer Sisters - reposted here from my previous on the should open in a window large enough for you to read.

Sorry I didn't know how to do this earlier today....dah.....


It's been a hectic time lately.....making it more difficult to focus on new, you guessed it, in an effort to stall, I decided to organize paperwork.

And....what did I come across??? A folder stuffed with good, really really good memories. With the advantage of the internet, hard copies are often no longer my newer memories are stored on my computer

I have a handful of far-flung special pals, that despite distance or time, we can pick up a conversation like we'd only paused for a breath.

Francie Ginocchio and I are the founding members of the Spritzer Sister Quilt Guild.....a two person guild dedicated to keeping it that way.....after all....really we women sometimes can be so mean spirited!!

This photo was taken of us, SSF (Spritzer Sister Francie) is standing and SSM (Spritzer Sister Mary) is seated at her sewing machine taken at a Split Rock Arts workshop in July 1993.

I had hoped to share lots of our correspondence, but since I don't want you to think less of me.....I'm afraid there is only a small amount that will be appropriate.

The Spritzer Sisters wrote several articles for Lakes Patchwork Quilts Magazine....if you still have copies around......they appeared in May 1994, October 1995, and June 1997. I've scanned a portion of the last one which will give you some insights to our guild. I'm hoping it will be readable on the blog....if not, I'll figure out a way to share it with you.

We have a camp song......doesn't everyone?? It's sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat.....this too I hope is readable.......for now.....scratch your head and ponder about the nonsense the Spritzer Sisters have been up to.

** sorry I don't think you can read these.....though the camp song would be if you enlarged the text. I'm going to try to photograph it and see if that will work....stay tuned. It will be worth the wait. SSM

Sunday, August 23, 2009


My week has been hectic, but no matter how busy I am, the twice daily 'forced marches' are scheduled by 'the husband'.

Summer is winding down....plants are dying back, acorns are falling, some plants are displaying flowers that had yet to be seen......

Though I tend to rush through life, it's good to stop and enjoy what nature provides......

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As you all know, I'm a big fan of National Nonwoven's Woolfelt products which are featured in my book, "Embellishing with Felted Wool".

Unfortunately, the availability in some areas can be troublesome. Well.....NOT any more.

Click here and then bookmark National Nonwoven's e-commerce website for all your woolfelt needs.

Once on the on 'products'....then on the upper left side - under WoolFelt (which is in white) you can click on the fiber content you seek for a breakdown of sizes and colors.

For instance, 35% wool can be purchased in 12" x 18" pieces @ $1.80 each or consider yardage 36" x 36" @ $9.00.

You'll also find 100% wool bundles - 18" x 22" fat quarters of 7 colors @ $55.00 or yardage 36" x 36" @ $20.50.

Wool roving and charm packets are also available. I for one am thrilled for this one stop shopping convenience where I can find the colors and styles I need.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Yup, this may gross you out.......but being the hotel snob that I am......

I've always wondered why the high end hotels have full toilet seats and most mid-range hotels don't? A Hampton Inn is the lowest end of hotel that I ever plan to stay in......some have these split seats.....I don't get the reason for them and I don't like it......

So there!!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Continuing my journey.....Sheboygan, WI (my hometown) is my last stop before heading back to Western North Carolina. If it weren't for high Wisconsin taxes (especially the property taxes in this town) plus the cold winters......we'd have opted for this area rather than NC.

But like everything in life...there are pros and cons.....

My brother and his family still live in Sheboygan....... he was the one who recommended this restaurant. My picture doesn't quite give the true feel of the outside, which really looks like an old diner.

As I walked in the door, I was not only greeted by Elvis....but a Ricky Nelson tune on the jukebox. Many of you may be aware.....I'm a huge Ricky Nelson fact....I'll admit to using the Ricky Nelson cuteness factor as my thumbs up standard for guys.

Harry (in the hat) dresses the part of a 50's diner owner. We were amused after chatting with him to realize he's Greek.....yet he sure knows how to serve great American feel good food. We've managed to have a meal there once a day so far.

It's like stepping back in time.....even the waitresses dress the part with their poodle felt skirts and shirt dresses......

One reason for our yearly midwest trip is to attend the car races at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI which is only a short distance from Sheboygan. Although I'm not the dedicated fan that 'the husband' is.....I enjoy the beautiful surroundings of this road track. It was carved out of 525 acres of farmland in 1955 with a 4.048 mile track, featuring 14 challenging turns. Here cars are lined up waiting for the start of their particular race. It was a hot day.....I really felt sorry for the drivers wearing all their protective gear, crammed into their small cars.

Spectators can now camp in numerous areas around the track.....both in motor homes and tents. Again, being a true quilter, I can spot a quilt anywhere! I giggled when I noticed this firewood bag because it was not in the fancy motor home camping was in the section seen in the following photo.

One of the things we really miss about Wisconsin is the cleanliness......look at this....not a scrap of paper, can, bottle....nothing. I could have taken this photo anywhere in this state and it would look the same. Sadly, the folks in our area of North Carolina could take a lesson. I am shocked, disgusted, and dismayed at the amount of filthy litter along every's beyond my comprehension how folks can do that and why the officials tolerate it. Sorry for the rant....but it's something that really bothers us about our new environment and though we police our development, we are powerless to make an impact elsewhere.....

If I stayed here any longer, I wouldn't be able to zip my pants.....the food is yummy. Brats are THE local cuisine and I'm bringing back at least 6 dozen in a large cooler....along with Wisconsin cheese. We have favorite food stands at the race track......this one features a Walking Taco and Brat on a Stick. When I lived in Wisconsin it was perfectly normal to have a brat no less than twice a week....they are eaten at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.....and of course as snacks.

I'm really sharing my personal preferences in this go ahead and roll your eyes!!! Here's another: Anyone who knows me well, knows I'm a hotel snob. Sheboygan, for as nice as it is, never had what I'd call a decent hotel. Now it does and I was in heaven last night in a suite with two flat screen TV's which could be viewed from the bedroom area. We were happy campers, reclining on our huge bed watching the first pre-season Packer football game. AND......they kicked butt.......a perfect ending to a perfect day.

As we wind up our Midwest visit tonight......we dined outdoors at a local fish shanty on a canal that leads to Lake Michigan. Dark clouds loomed in the East over the lake while the sun shone on the newly built condos and the ever present sea gulls.

So....I hope I can still stuff myself into my jeans tomorrow morning when I head back to the mountains..... Thanks for allowing me to share my travels with you. I not only get to enjoy them as they happen, but all over again as I write my posts.....(privately wondering who wants to read this stuff anyway?!?)